ACCOUNT DELETED

In a previous post, I wrote about how my information was once again exposed to hackers by MGM. I made a request to have my account deleted and more than a month later, they finally were able to process my request.

I had to prove who I was by entering in some of my personal info, which is kinda ironic since that personal info is already public due to MGM’s failure to keep that information private. What were they doing in those six weeks while I waited for them to delete my account?

Anyways, the account is now deleted and thanks to MGM, I now have a year’s worth of free credit monitoring. You know, MGM offered free credit monitoring to everyone who had they accounts hacked and I think that was hundreds of thousands of accounts. That must have cost them some money.

While nothing alarming has been reported by the credit monitoring, since the beginning of January, I’ve had at least two e-mails sent to me with password reset links for two popular social media sites. Someone is obviously trying to probe sites and entering in my e-mail address to see if there’s an account attached. Furthermore, at least a dozen times a day, people around the world try to access the e-mail account that was associated with that MGM account. At least for now, they can’t get in because they don’t have my password and I have two-factor authentication on. I do wonder if one day they’ll figure a way in. At least I won’t have to worry about MGM anymore.

FRIDGE CLEAN UP

Do you own a refrigerator? Do you have bottles and jars of condiments? If you have both, you might relate to this post.

As one does, after you open a bottle or jar of salad dressing, sauce, marinade, jam and the like, you need to put almost all of these items under refrigeration lest they start to go bad. More often than not, I never wind up using all of said item before it reaches its ultimate best before date.

So here’s the thing about a container of something in the fridge. One day it’s great, still edible, and thus it belongs in the fridge. It’s like that for many days and then one day its no longer any good. I don’t take notice of when that transition happens. As I bought more of these condiments, they just began to take up more space on the shelf that I designated as the “condiment shelf”.

It got to the point that I noticed nearly a quarter of the usable space in my fridge was taken up by these useless and out of date containers. The shelf was full of stuff that I’d never use again. Weeks would go by where I’d open the fridge to get something, see this shelf, and mutter something about needing to clean it up.

Well, one day, about a week ago, I designated one evening as “shelf clean up night”. I began that evening by hauling out every single container from that shelf and lined them all up on my stove. Now if this were the 1950s, I would have just tossed all of them into a garbage bag and tossed that into the nearest body of water. Instead, this is the 21st century and we’re barely more civilized since then, but at least we’re able to recycle.

Since all the containers were either glass or plastic, they were all great candidates for recycling. All I needed to do was to empty out the jars and bottles, rinse them, and toss them into a bag. It took me about 45 minutes to get everything emptied and cleaned. That’s how many containers there were. I didn’t care though because I was left with a great amount of satisfaction. Also, my fridge looks so empty now in comparison.

The wonderful thing is, the cycle will continue again. I have a jar of blueberry jam that is still months away from expiring and there’s a jar of capers I’m using when I make chicken piccata. They look almost lonely in my fridge. Who knows what’s gonna happen. Maybe I use all of those ingredients. Maybe I don’t and they’re joined by more jars and bottles.

In a year, we might be doing this all again.

TAXES

I don’t have all my tax slips and receipts in my possession for tax year 2023, but I have enough of the ones that make the most impact on my tax return. Over the weekend, I entered all the information I knew into some tax software.

Without any major changes to my financial situation, I still owe the government over $4200 in taxes. For someone who makes millions of dollars a year, that amount might be trivial for a tax bill, but it’s a decent amount of money for me. The only way I can change the situation is to contribute more to my RRSP. I only wish there was some favourable ratio to the amount I owe with the amount I contribute. Unfortunately, in my current situation, it appears that for every dollar I owe, I need to contribute about two dollars to my RRSP to offset that dollar. So, to essentially break even, I need to contribute $8000.

The question facing me now is, do I want to spend $4200 and never see that again, or shuffle away $8000 for a later date? There’s pros and cons for both. If I didn’t have $8000, I’d either have to pay the $4200 somehow or then entertain borrowing $8000 for an RRSP loan. If I contribute the $8000, I won’t see that money for a while, since it’s normally earmarked for retirement. Or do I look at the tax bill as $4200 gone but about $4000 still in my bank account, rather $8000 gone in total?

Maybe I should just bite the bullet and contribute the whole $8000 to my RRSP. One reason for doing so is that the RRSP I’d contribute to is an investment portfolio that I have set up through work. The returns on my portfolio have been quite impressive. In the last three months of 2023, the return on that portfolio was over 10%. Other than the money I spent on my apartment, the money invested there has been one of the best financial choices I’ve made. So in all likelihood, if the $8000 goes in there, it will almost certainly be worth more than $8000 in just a few months.

I recognize that I am very lucky to just have a liquid $8k available to me. This is a large sum of money that perhaps other wouldn’t have on hand this quickly. I am leaning towards just using it to contribute to my RRSP. First, it saves me from having to give the government more money. Second, barring any crazy stock market shenanigans, it should begin to make more money almost immediately. Averaged over time, it will undoubtedly be worth more than $8000 in a year or two.

One more final thing that this has made me think about. I feel like I should perhaps visit a tax professional because there’s gotta be some other tax shelter that I haven’t considered other than RRSPs. Like how do rich people get away with not paying taxes?

REBOOT

Do you think twice or hesitate when you need to restart or reboot your computer? Normally, when it comes to my home computers, it’s not a big deal. The need doesn’t arise very often and when it does, I’m back up and running in a minute or so. Unfortunately, when it comes to my work computer, rebooting is a pain in the ass.

The reason for this is because for game development, I require a large number of programs to be running at the same time to be productive. At any given moment, my work computer is running two code editors (also known as an IDE), source control program (Perforce for us), e-mail client (Outlook), a web browser with dozens of tabs, Slack, a few File Explorer windows, and at least three proprietary programs that assist with making the game. When I reboot my workstation, all those programs need to shut down, and when Windows boots up again, all of those programs need to be started again.

It’s kinda a pain in the ass to have to launch all of those programs. Also, some of them don’t just start immediately and can be used. Some of them are quite resource intensive and take a while to start and even when they are running, they then need to index a large data set before the program can be used fully. Some times my browser doesn’t remember all the tabs it had open. Even when it does, each tab actually needs to load the page again when you click on it, which most of the time requires re-authenticating with my credentials.

So while it may take less than a minute for Windows to shut down and restart again. It can take well over five minutes to get all my programs running again and web pages reloaded before I can begin to be productive again.

I’m quite envious of the people who can do their jobs with just one or two program and a few browser tabs.

DENTIST

I went to the dentist for a cleaning last week and while I normally hate visiting the dentist, my visit this time was one of the more pleasant ones.

When I arrived for my 11am appointment, there was only one person at the desk, and she knew I was coming because she addressed me by my name immediately. Usually, the front desk is bustling with activity, with sometimes up to three people working the phones and handling patients.

I was then directly to the waiting area, which was empty. Usually there’s at least one or two people waiting but I had the whole place to myself. From where I was sitting, I could sorta see into the back area where they conduct the oral torture. I didn’t see a whole lot going in there and it was very quiet for a dental office. I could only discern one dental assistant working back there and that was the one who came to get shortly after.

My cleaning went smoothly and the entire time I was in the chair, I couldn’t hear any other activity from the other chairs and treatment rooms. Normally, I hear other people talking or the sounds of the suction or the drills. I think I was the only patient there the entire time.

When I was done with the cleaning, I went back out to the front to settle up with the lone receptionist. The waiting room was still devoid of people. The whole experience was quite pleasant, as far as dentist visits go. It felt like I had a private clinic set up that was only for me and I didn’t have to mix with the rest of the public. Is this how rich people do dentistry? They are so lucky!

TWO NAPPER

I’m not sure what happened but I took two naps today. Usually, taking a nap isn’t a surprise for most people. You feel tired and then you sleep for a short amount of time, it’s not exactly rocket science.

The weird thing is, I didn’t think I needed to take two naps. I had an average amount of sleep last night. It wasn’t over eight hours but I don’t think it was close to six either. At no point during the workday did I feel exhausted or struggling to have energy.

At around 5pm, however, I went to my couch to lie down and watch some TV. The next thing I knew, I had fallen asleep, and twenty minutes had gone by. This surprised me because I usually don’t nap at the time. If I do need a nap, it’s after dinner.

Anyways, I got up, and then made some dinner. After eating, I went back to my couch to enjoy some of the TV that I had missed since I had fallen asleep. To my surprise, I felt tiredness wash over my body, and I closed my eyes as sleep came to me again. I woke up about half an hour later.

I can’t remember the last time I took two naps in one day. I didn’t even do anything strenuous the day before. The day before was a very typical Monday.

Anyways, I hope I get more sleep tomorrow and don’t need two naps again.

WARM

If the forecast holds up, tomorrow’s high of 14 degrees Celsius will be the warmest January 29th for the greater Vancouver area since they started keeping records in 1937. It will break the previous record of 13.3 degrees set in 1940.

I’m all for this warmer weather. When it was like -13 degrees a few weeks ago, that sucked. I’m so thankful it’s returned to a more normal Vancouver winter. I’ve put away the humidifier again, as the air is moist and full of life-affirming water vapour. My skin is thankful.

URINE

I have a Garmin fitness tracker and try to wear it all the time. It tracks my steps, sleep, heart rate, and stairs climbed among other things. The one thing that I do not like about it is the damn clasp on the band. It manages to unclasp itself really easily. I’ll be randomly just going throughout my day and it’ll just fall off my wrist. Many times I’ll wake up and the tracker will off my wrist and just laying underneath my covers. One time, it slipped off while I was walking on street, leaving it to lie on the sidewalk. Luckily, I noticed about ten minutes after getting home and I rushed back out to retrace my steps. I managed to find it on the sidewalk before anyone else.

Now before you ask me why I don’t replace the band, it doesn’t work that way. The tracker is waterproof to some extent and to get that done, the whole tracker, including the band is one continuous piece of material. You can’t replace just one piece of this thing.

Anyways, this afternoon, I was urinating into my toilet at home. When the urination stopped, I went to go flush the toilet. As I reached for the handle, I didn’t realize the clasp had come loose and I watched helplessly as the tracker tumbled off my wrist and into my toilet bowl, which at this point was sill filled with my urine. I also suddenly remembered this same bowl was filled with my own feces just hours earlier.

As looked into the bowl with shock, I muttered a curse. I had to get the damn thing out of the bowl and out of my urine. I ran to the kitchen to get a disposable bamboo fork I had. I also just happened to have a bucket in my washroom. I used the fork to gingerly fish out the tracker from the bowl. It glistened with my fresh and probably still warm urine. I dropped it in the bucket and then threw away the fork.

I put the bucket in my tub and then filled the bucket with warm water to wash off and the dilute as much of the urine as possible. I must have filed and replaced the water in the bucket at least three times. I then filled it again but also added some soap. I let it sit in the soapy water for about ten minutes before rinsing the whole bucket and tracker clean.

I then took the tracker out and left it on the edge of the tub to dry. Then a few hours later, I grabbed an old toothbrush, and with some soap and water, I scrubbed every part of the tracker, including all the nooks and crannies. I then rinsed it clean with warm water.

I’m wearing it right now but I’m trying not to think about where it was just earlier in the day. I am very lucky it’s waterproof otherwise I would have ruined it with my urine. The clasp still sucks and it will fall off again, though hopefully not into my urine.

CELL PHONE

I changed my cell phone provider this evening because my new one was offering almost the same plan for $12 (plus taxes) cheaper a month. That won’t send me to retirement ahead of schedule or anything but $12 a month is still $12. That’s an extra fast food meal each month or two more apples that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

This is also the first time I’m using a eSIM. Instead of the physical SIM card that you insert into your phone, you just download an eSIM. Because of this, I was able to switch providers immediately, without having to go a store to get an actual card.

I’ve lost track but I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve transferred my phone number to another cell phone provider. Each time it’s been ported over without any issues but I’m not exactly sure if the process has gone smoothly this time. The new provider stated in all their documentation that I should expect to get a text from my old provider, with instructions to confirm that I wanted my number to be ported over. It’s been almost six hours since I started the porting process and I haven’t received any text messages from them. Because I’m not sure where we are in the process, I haven’t removed my old SIM card yet.

It’s quite possible the porting process it’s actually completed though. I received a text message from a friend earlier this evening and my texting app denotes which SIM card the text was received from. It said it came from my new provider. Though a few hours later, I needed to receive a two-factor authentication text, and that message said it was received using my old provider. So who knows.

I don’t want to remove my old SIM card just yet. If it looks like the transfer process is still in limbo tomorrow, I may have to contact customer support.

CREDIT SCORE

So sometime in the late summer or early fall my credit score dropped by seventy points. My credit score dropped below 800 for the first time in I don’t know how long, possibly over a decade.

The only thing I could think of that caused this drop is that I forgot to pay one of credit card bills one month. I only use two credit cards and the one I forgot to pay doesn’t have an “auto-pay” feature. So every month, I have a scheduled reminder which tells me to go pay my bill. It’s a bit old school because a lot of bills now have some measure of automation that allows you to draw money of out an account to pay said bill.

Anyways, it’s a bit interesting to see that one missed bill can cause a drop of nearly 100 points. I’m not too concerned because my mortgage doesn’t need renewal anytime soon and I’m not looking to borrow money otherwise either. Also, my credit score is back above 800 now though not to where it was before.

This is a reminder to me to not to screw up my credit score in the time leading up to my mortgage renewal.